How Quickly Can I Get an MBA?

When you begin your search for an MBA program, a few things might fly to the front of your mind. How much will it cost? What’s the best program for me? How long will it take to earn my degree? It might be the last one that weighs on you the most, especially when you consider that the longer you’re paying to go to school full time, the less time you’ll have to be earning money to support yourself and mitigate the cost of tuition and other similar costs related to school. MBA programs come in a number of formats, which have a heavy bearing on how quickly you can get an MBA. If you want a quick MBA, you can find one, but it might come with other scheduling aspects you might not have considered. Let’s look at some of the options and what they entail.

Traditional MBAs

A classic MBA program is generally geared towards students that have recently graduated from an undergraduate program, preferably (although not definitely) in business. These programs cover topics like accounting, statistics (and how to use them in business, communication, business ethics, business law, finance, economics, management, business operations, marketing, and much more. These programs often take place over two academic years, and can be completed in approximately 18 months (depending on school, program and location), and require 60 credits. If you’re going to take a traditional MBA, expect to be attending school for the longest overall period of time, as the program is usually broken into two years separated by a three to four month summer break. If you’re going to take a traditional MBA, you should take a look at this ranking of the best business schools in North America. But if you need to finish your MBA at a quicker pace to get back to work (and earning more than you did before), you might consider an accelerated MBA program.

Accelerated MBA

Accelerated MBAs (also known as one-year MBAs) are programs condense the two-year traditional format into approximately one year of school. They cover the same curriculum as traditional MBAs, but understand that their students can’t be spending all their time in school, and need to get back to work, or get a new job with higher compensation considering their new degree. The way these programs get students through them while providing them a high quality graduate education is by giving students a heavier course load and examination schedule, eliminating the three to four month summer break in traditional MBA programs. These programs also typically cost less than traditional MBA programs. Clearly they come with a tradeoff: you get your degree for less money in a quicker period of time, but you have to work much harder during that shortened period. Calculate that value as you will. And, if you’re looking for a one year MBA program, definitely read this ranking on the 15 best one-year MBAs that can be earned online. The curriculum of accelerated MBAs mimics that of traditional MBAs (economics, statistics, operations, management), but often comes with a concentration in subjects like finance, healthcare, human resources, information technology and more.

Part-time and Evening MBA Programs

If there’s no way that you can compromise your weekly daytime schedule, but really want to earn an MBA, you might consider a part-time MBA program. These programs generally meet on weekday evenings or weekends. Part-time programs generally take three years to finish, and are geared towards working professionals. Perhaps the time it takes to earn an MBA is less important than how much of your life you have to devote to it on a daily basis. Another similar format for earning your MBA is evening or second shift MBA programs. These are full-time programs that meet on weekday evenings of weekends, and take the two years that traditional MBA programs do, only scheduled to meet a schedule that includes full-time work or comparable responsibilities. So the former gives you an option to take your time while you earn an MBA and maintain your current schedule, while the latter is better if you feel you can handle an extremely heavy load of courses and outside responsibilities.

Executive MBAs

Executive MBAs are aimed at working professionals that can’t stop working in order to go back to school. For the most part these degrees are conveyed through a part-time schedule of twelve to 24 months. Business schools that offer EMBA programs normally search for candidates with comprehensive managerial experience (often 5 or more years, with ten or more years of work experience). Because EMBA students often go to school while working, and hope to use their new degree in their current job, they may be able to get tuition assistance from their employers. While Executive MBA might sound like it’s for executives only, students in these programs come from all sectors, including profit, nonprofit, and government. Sometimes these programs are called Global MBAs, and involve travel, while being aimed at a similar population of students.

Online MBAs

Finally, you might consider an online MBA. While these programs vary in length of time (oscillating between the normal or traditional MBA program and that of accelerated programs), what makes them standout is their general flexibility for students. In many online MBA programs students can choose when to do their work and attend virtual classes on a schedule that works for them. While the total amount of time in the program may be as much as a traditional MBA, if it’s scheduled around your life and completed remotely, won’t it feel like a quick MBA? For more information on top notch online MBA programs, you’ll want to look at the online MBA rankings on Great Business Schools to get a look at the full array of options you can choose. Many of these rankings are separated by fields of interest, so if you want an online MBA in entrepreneurship, finance, real estate or other topics, this is the place for you.